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Roofing Buyer's Guide (page 10 of 10)

Learn how to tell if it's time to replace your roof, and get information on the latest roofing materials and approximate costs.

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Recycled rubber roofing is eco-friendly and has a 50-year life expectancy. Photo Courtesy of EcoStar.

Concrete tiles are durable, fireproof, insect-proof and resistant to damage from hail. They can be molded to closely resemble wood shakes, barrel-style clay tiles, glazed clay tiles and even slate roofing materials, but generally are less expensive. Most concrete tiles include a molded, interlocking system that makes the roofing extremely tough and long-lasting -- some varieties include lifetime warranties.

Regular concrete tiles are heavy (at least 900 pounds per square) and may require additional reinforcement for the roof structure. Lightweight concrete tiles reduce the load (600-700 pounds per square) but cost more. Although difficult to install, a determined DIYer could tackle a concrete tile roof project. Expect to pay $200 to $800 per square, installed.

Slate was once popular but is now prohibitively expensive for all but the most deluxe application and renovation project. Typically quarried in the Northeast, slate splits naturally into sheets that make virtually indestructible roofing tiles. With its beautiful dark gray, green and red colors, slate adorns some of the most historically significant buildings in the U.S. It may weigh as much as a ton per square, making careful roof engineering absolutely necessary. The specialized skill necessary to install slate is a vanishing art. Expect to pay $600 to $1,500 for an installed slate tile roof.

Rubber composite shingles are made from a blend of plastic and rubber, and many manufacturers use recycled rubber exclusively so environmental impact is low. Most rubber tiles are molded to resemble slate and wood shakes, and do a remarkable job of mimicking their natural counterpart, both in color and in texture. Rubber shingles are tough and durable, won't break, and are impervious to rot and insects. A 50-year warranty is standard. You'll pay $400 to $800 to have rubber shingles installed, but availability is limited.

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